My fiancé and I are getting married next year, and we have been trying to decide where we want to have our honeymoon. Since we've never been out of the country together, I suggested that we take this opportunity to travel Europe for two weeks. It has always been a dream of mine ever since I was a little girl to travel to London and Paris. His eyes softened and became dark as he softly mumbled, "Are you sure you feel comfortable traveling to some of the top tourist destinations in the world?"
Traveling together has always been our favorite hobby together, but we have mostly traveled within the U.S, with the exception of me doing volunteer work in Jamaica during college. After this summer we will have visited and explored all of the lower 48 states. Now that we know our own country so well, we desire to explore what else is out there.
I will admit that when I think about traveling into more "dangerous places," my chest tightens a little thinking about what could happen. Unfortunately, we have become all too familiar with global acts of terrorism; of course, the horrific 9/11 attacks in NYC, the London subway bombings, the attacks in Paris, the Brussels bombings, and most recently, the Orlando mass shooting. And I know that this list is not inclusive of the entire list of horrific terrorism attacks throughout the world.
Is the beauty and wonder of travel ruined with the fear of terror hovering over our heads?
I travel because I love to experience different cultures and meet new people. I'm from a small town of 2,000 in the Midwest and do not get to experience diversity; even little things that city goers may take for granted such as sky scrapers, subway stations, or even simple pleasures like local markets on every street corner, are foreign to me unless I travel. Naturally, because I am so comfortable in my small town bubble, I will admit that there has been a sense of stress from visiting these populated cities within the U.S.
Before you judge my petty fear of flying on an airplane or using the New York subway system, I want you to put yourself in the shoes of a young, small town girl who has never experienced the big city life. After hearing all the shit I do on the news, it is natural for me to feel some sort of discomfort and fear, even though I know that these instances are rare. How sad is it that the first thing I thought about when I boarded the plane en route to NYC was, "What if this plane is hijacked?" The thought of the terrified passengers during 9/11 kept reeling in my mind like a television show. What would I even do in that situation? How horrific must it have been for those who knew their fate on that airplane?
The fact of the matter is, however, these fears are exactly what feeds terrorism. Terrorism is envoking fear into the hearts of innocent people to spread mass fear and panic.
If I succumb to my fears and refuse to travel and see this beautiful world, I'm letting the terrorists win.
This is not a political or religious post. I'm not here to point fingers, state my views, or judge others. This post is about human nature, our strength to survive, and our passion for life. It's about coming together and not letting global terrorism feed into our minds and hearts. It's about taking a stand and choosing to be courageous, because it is our best defense mechanism. It's about spreading kindness by leading by example.
Please, let's not be afraid to live our lives. We can live more cautiously, but let's not limit ourselves because we are afraid of the outcome. The way I think of it is that whatever happens, will happen. I'm not a part of the FBI or Homeland Security. I'm just an ordinary citizen. I can't prevent these things from happening. So until then, I'm going to continue to live my life.
So, yes, I am going to fight for our honeymoon to be overseas. I'm going to travel to the largest cities in the world without fear. I'm going to interact with those of all religions, sexualities, and political affirmations.
I'm going to fight terrorism the only way I know; by living.
Look around and see that there is more good than bad.
There are more helpers than hurters.
There is more love than hate.
Resilience, compassion & love keeps our world spinning; hate is a vicious, never-ending cycle.
Love will always win.
Sending thoughts, love and prayers to the victims & families of the Orlando shootings, and to all others who have been victimized by terrorists throughout the world.